Continuing on from interesting things about Parisians, besides their ACTUAL infinite love for cheeses and wines... Another thing about Parisians is that they seem really, REALLY into their dining out. For example, one time we went out for lunch and the entire restaurant was PACKED. Like to the point we had to share tables with people (which I think is considered normal in Paris). And sometimes we'd walk past these fancy restaurants and people would be eating huge steaks with potatoes and a glass of wine. For lunch.
One interesting lunch we had was 'bo bun', which is a popular Vietnamese dish in Paris apparently. Basically it's a Vietnamese rice noodle salad thing, and you mix it all up yourself with a generous serving of fish sauce.
Now, to say I have a thing for Vietnamese food is an understatement. When I'm with some of my friends and they're like "Hm what should we get for din--" I'm like "VIETNAMESE FOOD!!!!! V to the I to the E to the T to the N to the A to the M!!!!" I eat Vietnamese food at home and I still always get excited to eat it haha.
So it was pretty cool to be at this restaurant that literally ONLY sells this one dish 'bo bun'. And then to see all these French people around me and gobbling up the food of my people so passionately for their lunch. That was interesting.
Another example of Parisian's interesting way of life is when we were on our way to dinner on a Monday night. We were bike riding along in our neighbourhood and saw this street that was just beautiful.
It was only later that we realised what had happened here at La Carillon.
After the Paris attacks in November 2015, I started reading a lot about it and about Paris. I think that everybody did, but since I knew I was going there soon after and also that our Airbnb was in the exact area that it all happened, it was on my mind a lot.
But one thing I remember reading that struck me the most was this. It was an Instagram series by an artist, talking about how France is an old country, where lovers kiss freely.
He says, "Paris is our capital. We love music, drunkenness and joy."
The people who went out that Friday night were going out to sing, to drink, to live. And what happened to them, the goal was trying to divide their people. But he says "Instead of dividing us, you remind us of the preciousness of our way of life."
If you'd like to read the full set of drawings and story, it's here, and it really changed my view of Parisians. I think if I'd gone to Paris with my previous mindset - basically that it was overrated, overdone and not that open - then I wouldn't have appreciated them. But this time I went, I really realised that Parisians do seem to celebrate life.
The pizza place we ended up on that Monday night, recommended to us by our Airbnb host as her favourite local pizza restaurant, was right across the street from La Carillon. It was packed out on a Monday night, literally all the tables inside were full so we sat outside. And everyone was sharing pizza and of course had a glass of wine. And we noticed that everyone also got the house Tiramisu to complete their meals.
It was just kind of crazy to me to see everyone feasting and sharing so freely, on a Monday night, right in the middle of a recently attacked location. I don't think it's to say that these people are callous and don't care about those that passed away. I think it just made me realise that it's not really their way to cower in fear for the rest of their life, they really do love and embrace the joys and pleasures in life.
Another thing I liked a lot from Paris was the street art. This was a line of wall leading up to La Carillon, which I think a lot must've gone up after what had happened.
This was a street that we came across as we were wandering in our area.
You can see even the bins and poles don't escape this makeover.
And street art was actually EVERYWHERE. In fact I'd say a common sight in Paris is actually street art, cars, and people.
There is always a person or car in the way in Paris. Always haha.
Another cool thing is how the grunge of Paris weaves in with the old and ornate.
Because, to be honest, Paris is definitely not a 'new' and 'fresh' city. In fact, I actually thought a lot of it could be seen as old and a bit on the dull-coloured side.
But then you'll be walking along some normal dinge-y way and then BAM, there's some super old beautiful building there.
The below was a funny sight for me, for some reason haha. I don't know why. Just these two normal looking dudes having a casual conversation on their intricately designed balcony likely built during the prime golden age of the Renaissance era. I think it's funny because you just don't get scenes like this in Sydney haha.
Other times, we would be running some errand and then we'd realise we were right in the area of some famous monument. One example is when we ran into the Notre Dame and were like "Oh hey Notre, we were right in the area, thought we'd drop in". Another time we realised the Louvre was right nearby to where we were standing so we were like "Maybe we should go see it."
Here we are checking out the Louvre. Mr. Human is looking at something else, perhaps he is trying to play it cool. Inside he was probably squealing and exploding with excitement like "Oh my GOSH ~~~!!! It looks EXACTLY like in the games!!!"
After, we decided to leave and saw a cool looking bridge and wanted to go sit on it. That's how we ended up at the Seine.
I think that's the thing about Paris, that it has SO MANY of these these famous well-known things everywhere so even if you don't intend to look for them, they all just come up anyways and you end up by the banks of this famous river you've heard of.
Afterwards we decided to walk along it. Mr. Human pointed out the colours on the rivers, apparently 'famous Parisian colours' that you always see in movies.
Here is a famous Parisian tree (it has probably been featured in countless movies). Something else Mr. Human and me liked to do in Paris, besides happening upon famous attractions, was climb stuff. France is the home of parkour after all. :')
Throughout our time there, I kept looking at everything and taking it all in. When I stay in a city for a while and get to appreciate the more subtle things, I usually try do this thing... "If this city was a person how would I describe them?"
And for Paris, I thought like... old, busy, fast-paced. But the one I settled on - that I think fit encapsulated everything - was just interesting.
Like I think even if someone didn't like it, thought it was too busy or something, I don't think even they could deny that it really is such an interesting city.
In the end, I'm not sure Mr. Human and I would live here but I think we definitely, DEFINITELY loved our little Parisian life there. Thank you Paris and to all that shared their love for life with us. :)